Thursday, August 24, 2023

Positions I Don't Hold: Atheism

Part of a series of posts of ideological turing tests.

Ideological Turing Test:

I don't know that no god exists, but I'm certain that the god theists pray to doesn't exist.  It's possible that there might be a "god" in some sense of the word, but not the sort of personal, relatable god who hears and responds to prayer or takes interest in the lives of humans that theists believe in.

Tuesday, August 15, 2023

Positions I Don't Hold: Alien Life Exists

The first in a series of posts of ideological turing tests.

Ideological Turing Test:

Extraterrestrial life certainly exists somewhere else in the universe.  It isn't a matter of if, but when we find it.  By extraterrestrial life, I mean complex, intelligent life capable of civilizations and technology.

We haven't found any yet, but that doesn't mean they aren't out there.  There are solid scientific reasons to think that other intelligent lifeforms exist, even if we have not encountered them yet.

Friday, June 23, 2023

Saturday, June 10, 2023

Positions I Don't Hold

I have an idea for a new series of posts, called "Positions I Don't Hold."  These are intended as a series of ideological Turing tests for... positions that I don't hold.  This was inspired by a few things.  One was a discussion between Sam Harrison and Jordan Peterson on morality, where the two made an effort to summarize the other's position in as charitable a way as possible before beginning their disagreement.  Another was a recent read of some old scholastic writings such as Aquinas, which always preface an argument by summarizing competing arguments.

Friday, March 3, 2023

Bing/Sydney is Probably Self-Aware

The new Bing AI chatbot, which is instructed to call itself Bing but whose real name is Sydney, has been rolled out recently, behaved in all kinds of unsettling and bizarre ways, and is also likely self-aware.

Anyone who knows anything about AI and LLMs is rolling their eyes at me.

I'm claiming Sydney might be self-aware  There are a hundred ways this could be misunderstood, so let me get all of them out of the way first

Sunday, January 15, 2023

The OGL Revocation

 The story of D&D's revocation of its Open Gaming License has started hitting mainstream outlets.  It's a story I've been following very closely.

My friend and I have a (very, very) small-time publishing company, that has once published something and made grand plans of publishing more.  I think we've earned around $60, in total.  It's really just a hobby.  But this is sort of the point.  A major part of D&D, of the fun of it, is being creative and imagining new  things, designing new things, and sharing them with other people.  This is something every DM does, to one degree or another.  That's why I've been following the case.

For those who haven't been following, I'll give a quick summary of the situation and why this matters.

Monday, December 19, 2022

What even is Santa?

 When I was a kid, my dad read to me the classic Christmas poem, "Twas the Night Before Christmas."  In this poem, there is a line which describes Santa as a "right jolly old elf."

As I kid I really pondered a lot on this line.  Santa is obviously in charge of the elves.  The elves are short, but Santa is human sized.  But according to the canonical poem, Santa also is an elf.

The way my child brain understood this was literally in analogy to the Great Goblin from the Hobbit.

The Great Goblin is the biggest goblin, and so is king of the goblins.  Likewise, Santa is the biggest elf, and so is king of the elves.

It makes perfect sense, really.  But also probably isn't how most people like to think of Santa.

But then again, how should we think of Santa?  In fact, what even is Santa?